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In-Depth Information

More detailed information on the diagnosis, management, and treatment of tickborne rickettsial diseases is available in Diagnosis and Management of Tickborne Rickettsial Diseases: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichioses, and Anaplasmosis – United States.  
*Case definitions have been updated since publication

How to Contact the Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch at CDC

The general public and healthcare providers should first call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) for questions regarding RMSF and other rickettsial diseases. If a consultation with a CDC scientist specializing in rickettsial diseases is advised, your call will be appropriately forwarded.

Case Definitions

As of January 1, 2010, cases of RMSF are reported under a new category called Spotted Fever Rickettsiosis (including Rocky Mountain spotted fever).

Case Report Forms

For confirmed and probable cases of RMSF that have been identified and reported through the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System, states are also encouraged to submit additional information using CDC Case Report Forms (CRFs). These forms collect additional important information that routine electronic reporting does not, such as information on how the diagnosis was made, and whether the patient was hospitalized or died. If a different state-specific form is already used to collect this information, this information may be submitted to CDC in lieu of CRFs.

  • 2010 CDC Case Report Form:

How to Submit Specimens to CDC for RMSF Testing

Private citizens may not directly submit specimens to CDC for testing. If you feel that diagnostic testing is necessary, consult your healthcare provider or state health department.

State Health Departments

Specimens may be submitted to CDC for testing for rickettsial diseases, including RMSF. To coordinate specimen submission, please call 404 639 1075 during business hours (8:00 - 4:30 ET).

U.S. Healthcare Providers

U.S. healthcare providers should not submit specimens for testing directly to CDC. CDC policy requires that specimens for testing be submitted through or with the approval of the state health department. Please contact your state health department, who will assist you with specimen submission and reporting of an infected patient. For general questions about RMSF, please call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636). If you have questions about a suspect RMSF case, please first consult your state health department. Healthcare providers requiring an epidemiologic consultation on rickettsial diseases may also call 404-639-1075 during business hours (8:00 - 4:30 ET). Or 770-488-7100 after hours.

Non-U.S. Healthcare Providers

Non-U.S. healthcare providers should consult CDC prior to submitting specimens for testing. For general questions about RMSF, please call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636). If you would like to discuss a suspect rickettsial case with CDC, please call 404-639-1075 during business hours (8:00 - 4:30 ET), or 770-488-7100 after hours.

Specimen Submission Forms

Skin Biopsy Information [PDF - 1 page]

Collection and Submission of Skin Biopsy Specimens [PDF - 1 page]

General Guidelines for Test Requests and Shipping Specimens [PDF - 1 page]

Sample Specifications and Packaging Guidelines for Rickettsial Testing [PDF - 1 page]

CDC Form 50.34 (Specimen Submission)

*NOTE: A Specimen Submission form will be required to accompany samples being submitted to any of the CDC Infectious Disease Laboratories in 2013, and advance approval may be required for certain tests.

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